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How To Work A Nespresso Vertuo and Original Machine

Are you a new owner of a Nespresso machine? Welcome to the club! I’m sure you want to try out your machine right away. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about how to use a Nespresso machine. I have complete instructions for both Vertuo and Original models. The directions are the same regardless of whether your machine says Breville or De’Longhi in the US and Canada or Sage, Krups or Magimix in the UK.

Nespresso Vertuo vs Original

The Original Nespresso models include the Essenza, Inissia, Pixie, CitiZ, Lattissima and Creatista models. These use a high pressure system that can only brew espresso. Espresso is a highly concentrated coffee served in small shots. Espresso is the only type of coffee you can use to make milk-based drinks like lattes, macchiatos, cappuccinos, and flat whites.

In contrast, the newest Nespresso models, called the Vertuo line, can make a wide range of coffees using centrifusion technology. Only Vertuo machines can make a traditional American 8 ounce cup of coffee. There are also many single and double espresso pods to choose from.

Nespresso Pods

original Nespreso pod
Vertuo Nespresso pod

The Original capsules are dome-shaped whereas the Vertuo pods are more rounded. You have to make sure you have the right pods for the machine you have; Vertuo pods cannot be used in Original machines and vice versa. Most machines will come with a welcome kit with various pods to try. Hopefully you have some to get started! They come in a range of intensity levels and caffeine levels.

There are two types of pods available for Original machines: 1.35 oz espresso and 3.7 oz lungo. A lungo, which means “long” in Italian, makes a bigger cup because it uses more water.

There are four pod sizes available for Vertuo pods: 7.7 oz coffee, 5 oz gran lungo, 3.7 oz double espresso and 1.35 oz espresso. There used to be larger 14 oz coffee pods, but those are not being sold at this time.

You should never use a single pod more than once. If you, you may end up with coffee that tastes bitter or burnt. That’s because the coffee grinds will be over-extracted during a second use.

What Type of Water Should Be Used With Nespresso?

You should always use fresh water when brewing a Nespresso pod. The best types of water to use are good quality tap water, filtered water or bottled spring or alkaline water. These contain minerals that will enhance the taste of your coffee. You should not use distilled water since the distillation process removes the minerals from the water. If you do, you may notice that your coffee tastes flat since there are no minerals to enhance the flavor.

If you use tap water, you should try to be aware of the hardness of your water. Hard water has a higher mineral content, whereas soft water has lower mineral levels. If you live in an area with hard water, using tap water may require you to descale your Vertuo or Original machine more often. Hard water causes mineral buildup inside the machine more quickly. This can negatively impact water flow in the unit and cause leaks. It can also affect the taste and temperature of your coffee.

How To Turn On Nespresso Machine

Your Nespresso machine will turn on with a simple press of a button. For Vertuo models, this will be the button at the top of machine with the cup on it. Just press it once and the machine will begin to warm up. When the light steadies, it is ready for use.

To turn on an Original Lattissima, Essenza, Pixie, CitiZ or Inissia, just press the espresso or lungo button. The lights will start to flash as the machine warms up. When they stop, the machine is ready to brew.

Nespresso First Use

After unboxing your machine, you should run a cleaning cycle before putting a pod in and making your first coffee. The process is slightly different depending on which machine you have.

Original

  1. Give the water tank a thorough rinse. Then fill it with clean, fresh water and place it back on the machine.
  2. If you have an Original machine, place a 5 oz or large cup under the coffee outlet.
  3. Press the lungo button. Clear water will begin to flow into the cup.
  4. Discard the water and run another two or three lungos.

Vertuo, Evoluo, Vertuo Next

  1. Give the water tank a thorough rinse. Then fill it with clean, fresh water and place it back on the machine.
  2. Place a large container or measuring cup that is at least 1 quart under the coffee outlet.
  3. Turn the machine on and turn the lever left to the lock position.
  4. Push the brew button 3 times within 2 seconds
  5. Within 2 minutes, clear water will start flowing out of the machine. The cleaning procedure will then run for 2-5 minutes. The orange light will blink during this process.

VertuoPlus

  1. Give the water tank a thorough rinse. Then fill it with clean, fresh water and place it back on the machine.
  2. Place a large container or measuring cup that is at least 1 quart under the coffee outlet.
  3. Turn the machine on.
  4. Push the brew button 3 times within 2 seconds
  5. Within 2 minutes, clear water will start flowing out of the machine. The cleaning procedure will then run for 2-5 minutes. The orange light will blink during this process.

How To Use A Nespresso Original Machine

  • Fill the water tank and then turn the machine on.
  • Place an cup of the appropriate size under the outlet.
  • Open the lever to reveal the pod brewing chamber.
  • Insert an espresso or lungo pod. The flat lid part should be facing you and the dome facing the back of the machine. If want to make a lungo, be sure to ONLY use pods that have lungo in the name or marked on the sleeve. If you don’t, your lungo may taste burnt or bitter.
how to insert an original nespresso pod
  • Close the lever. Do not open the lever again until after you are done brewing. If you do, your pod will fall and you will need to reinsert it.
  • When the lights have stopped flashing, the machine has warmed up. Press either the espresso or lungo button once.
  • When brewing is over, wait a couple seconds for those last drips to fall into your cup.
  • Now open the lever to eject the used capsule.

How To Use Nespresso Vertuo, Evoluo, Vertuo Next

  • Fill the water tank and then turn the machine on. The light will blink. When it steadies the machine is ready to use.
  • Place an cup of the appropriate size for the pod you are brewing under the outlet. The cup support tray is adjustable. Lift it up and pull out to remove it and place it at the right level for the cup size you are using.
  • Turn the lever to the right to unlock so you can lift the head and reveal the pod brewing chamber.
  • Insert a Vertuo pod. The flat lid should be facing up with the dome part down and resting in the pod holder.
  • Close the head and turn the lever left towards the lock symbol.
  • Press the button to start the coffee prep. The machine will read the barcode on the underside of the pod lid and determine how long to brew your pod for. If you want to stop the process early, just push the button once.
  • When brewing is over, wait a couple seconds for those last drips to fall into your cup.
  • Now unlock and open the head and eject the used capsule.
Nespresso Vertuo Barcode
Nespresso Vertuo Barcode

How To Use Nespresso VertuoPlus

  • Fill the water tank and then turn the machine on. The light will blink. When it steadies the machine is ready to use.
  • Place an cup of the appropriate size for the pod you are brewing under the outlet. The cup support tray is adjustable. Lift it up and pull out to remove it and place it at the right level for the cup size you are using.
  • Press the underside of the lever. This will automatically open head and reveal the pod brewing chamber.
  • Insert a Vertuo pod. The flat lid should be facing up with the dome part down and resting in the pod holder.
how to insert an vertuo nespresso pod
How To Insert Nespresso Vertuo Pod
  • Press the top of the lever gently. The head will automatically close.
  • Press the button to start the coffee prep. The machine will read the barcode on the underside of the pod lid and determine how long to brew your pod for. If you want to stop the process early, just push the button once.
  • When brewing is over, wait a couple seconds for those last drips to fall into your cup.
  • Press the underside of the lever to open the head to auto eject the used capsule.

The Aeroccino Milk Frother

If you bought the Aeroccino 3 Milk Frother as part of a bundle with your Nespresso machine, you can use it to froth and heat milk to use in cappuccinos and lattes. You can even make cold foam for use on iced cappuccinos! Check out my related post on how to use the Nespresos milk frother, including a video demonstration.

Cleaning Your Machine

You’ll want to take good care of your machine to keep it operating at its best. There is some cleaning that should be done daily like wiping down the unit and rinsing the drip tray. Other cleaning should happen every few days or weekly like emptying the used capsule container. Deeper cleaning like descaling needs to happen less often (every two or three months). Visit my related post on how to clean every Nespresso machine model.

Storing Your Coffee Maker

If you will not be using your Nespresso for a week or longer, you should take the proper steps to prepare it for storage. See my related post for how to empty water from the internal components of your machine.

Nespresso Pod Recycling

Pods from Nespresso or Starbucks are eligible for the Nespresso recycling program. Instead of throwing your used pods in the trash, you can send them back to Nespresso for a second life. This is a great way to mitigate the environmental impact of using these coffee pods. You can learn more about how to recycle Nespresso pods in my related post.

Additional Resources

I hope you enjoy using your new Nespresso! Sign up for our mailing list to get the latest news and tips for your machine. You can also visit the Nespresso category on my site to browse all of my content on Nespresso. There are many helpful resources such as a guide to what the blinking orange and red lights mean on Vertuo machines or the most common reasons why your Nespresso may not be working.

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